Friday, December 15, 2006

Police officer spots a cougar in Oregon subdivision

By Kyle Odegard
Gazette-Times reporter
Last modified Thursday, December 7, 2006 10:51 PM PST

PHILOMATH — A cougar has been sighted in the Starlight subdivision, at the west end of town.

A Philomath police officer spotted the large cat at 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

“He put a spotlight on it, and it didn’t run away from him. It just kind of sat up there for a while,” said Philomath Police Chief Ken Elwer.

“There’s a lot of people that walk and hike up in that area. It would be nice if they knew about it,” he added.

The Starlight division is on the edge of town, and near forestland.

Cougar sightings aren’t especially rare on the boundaries of local cities. In September, a cougar sighting was reported at Witham Village Apartments on the northwest outskirts of Corvallis. Cougar sightings were reported about the same time in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, which is just up the road from the apartment complex.

According to the Audubon Society of Oregon, no one in the state has ever been killed by a cougar, and in the past three decades, 13 people in the United States have been killed by the big cats.

Should you encounter a cougar, officials offered these safety tips:

• Don’t walk alone, and keep children and pets close by when outdoors.

• If you come across a cougar, do not run from it because that might stimulate the animal’s instinct to chase. Instead, try and back away slowly.

• Do everything possible to appear larger, such as flaring a jacket, standing up straight or waving your arms.

• In the unlikely event the cougar attacks, fight back with a stick, rock or whatever is at hand. Many attack victims have successfully fought off a cougar. community/3aaa03_cougar.txt

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